09 October 2010
Garvan researcher Dr James Cantley has been appointed the Don Chisholm Fellow in Fundamental Diabetes Research, an award enabling vital research into Type 2 diabetes. The Fellow is named in honour of Professor Don Chisholm, one of Garvan’s most distinguished scientists and clinicians, and a world-renowned expert on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer controls blood sugar levels properly. We need insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, to channel sugar from our blood into our cells. The insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, known as ‘islets’ or ‘beta cells’, become progressively less efficient in people with Type 2 diabetes.
James is studying the mechanisms governing pancreatic beta cell function, nutrient sensing and insulin secretion. These are important areas of research, as beta cell dysfunction is a hallmark of Type 2 diabetes.
With the help of the Fellowship James has established several research projects investigating novel aspects of beta cell function. They include identifying a novel adipokine (hormone secreted from the adipocyte) that regulates insulin secretion. In addition, he has established new mouse models to study the role of candidate genes that may regulate beta cell function. These projects have produced some exciting preliminary results within the first year of the Fellowship, and will be further developed by James.
“James is an outstanding young researcher and his work to investigate the mechanisms behind beta cell function holds great promise for improved management and treatment of Type 2 diabetes in the future,” said Prof Chisholm.
Type 2 diabetes is currently the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia, with almost 300 people developing the disease everyday.
The Don Chisholm Fellow in Fundamental Diabetes Research is supported by a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.